“I am lying in a surprisingly bright glass-walled room…”

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters    July 29, 2018

Royal Jubilee Hospital, Victoria, BC - CanadaI am lying in a surprisingly large and very white, bright glass-walled room in the CCU (the coronary intensive care unit) of our local hospital. Through these walls I can see several people who look like nurses and doctors seated at a long desk outside my glass box, staring at computer monitors. It’s action central out there, where staff can observe and monitor every heart patient, each of us in one of the glass boxes.

I can see assorted tubes, lines and beeping machines surrounding my bed or attached to my body. Two nurses are looking down at me, one on either side of my hospital bed, closely examining my right wrist.  They are checking the wound that has been opened up there in order to insert a catheter through the radial artery, up my arm, around the bend of my shoulder, and into my beating heart. I find it oddly touching that each of these women is gently holding one of my hands. I feel like weeping, and so I do.

I have no more pain. No more pain crushing my chest or radiating down my left arm. No more of the increasingly debilitating symptoms I’ve been suffering for the past two weeks. If anything, I’m simply feeling surprised. I have had a heart attack. I HAVE HAD A HEART ATTACK! I, Carolyn Thomas, have had a frickety-frackin’ heart attack. . .
Continue reading ““I am lying in a surprisingly bright glass-walled room…””

Where’s the “survivorship” model for heart patients?

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

“There may be times when the joy you feel about survival far outweighs any anxieties you may have.

“Then, there will be times when your fears and uncertainties seem to take over your life, and you wonder if you will ever feel normal again.”

This sounds so familiar to any of us who have survived a catastrophic  cardiac event, doesn’t it?

But these words were not written about heart patients – they’re for cancer survivors.  Which made me wonder about this thing known as  “survivorship” – a popular concept in oncology that defines a cancer survivor “from the time of diagnosis and for the balance of life.”

But where, I ask you, is the concept of “survivorship” for heart patients and their families? And why haven’t I found it yet? Continue reading “Where’s the “survivorship” model for heart patients?”

Innocence lost: life after a heart attack


by Carolyn Thomas   @HeartSisters

Written one month after my heart attack, June 2008:

“It isn’t the moment you are struck when you need courage, but the long uphill battle back to sanity and faith and security.”    Anne Morrow Lindbergh

.The wisdom of this quote strikes me every day.  In hindsight, the time I spent hospitalized in the Coronary Care Unit after my heart attack four weeks ago seems like the easiest part of this adventure.

Back then, I was surrounded every moment by round the clock state-of-the-art technology and highly-trained professionals whose only goal was to save my life and make me well enough to go home.  Continue reading “Innocence lost: life after a heart attack”